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Worth the Weight

Worth the Weight


At the young age of 36, Angela Walden realized her health was spiraling out of control. Weight was piling on along with increasing medical issues such as high blood pressure, neuropathy, and extreme fatigue. The stay-at-home mother of five knew that to keep up with her family she needed to take action.

“I just kept getting bigger and bigger and ended up at 268 pounds. I wasn’t happy.” said Angela. “I had just had enough and wanted to make a change.”

Determined to turn things around, Angela began researching weight loss and bariatric surgery. With help from her primary care physician, Angela was referred to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital’s bariatrics program.

“When I first went in for my initial appointment and met Dr. Eid and his staff, I knew that it was the place for me,” said Angela. “They treat you just like family and are so thorough throughout the entire journey.”

Bariatric surgery offers life-changing potential, but it requires full commitment from the patient. Angela’s first appointment took place in December 2020. During this appointment, she met with Dr. Joseph Eid, a minimally invasive general and bariatric surgeon, and Myra Frye, Weight Loss Navigator, to discuss all the steps of the weight loss surgery process. This process includes appointments with a primary care provider for medical weight management, psychological and nutritional consults, and specific long-term care follow-up after the procedure. Following the initial informational appointment, Angela completed multiple medical screenings and further testing, including an upper gastrointestinal series (UGI) and an endoscopic procedure known as EGD to ensure she was healthy enough to undergo the surgery. For insurance purposes, Angela was required to complete a six-month, pre-requisite dieting phase as well as psychological and nutrition evaluations. After the pre-requisite phase was complete, Angela was able to discuss the gastric sleeve surgery with Dr. Eid, schedule the procedure, and plan her follow-up care. She was placed on a two-week high protein, liquid diet prior to surgery.

“Prior to my procedure, I was given a lot of information about what to expect before and after the surgery. All my questions were answered, and I never felt scared or unaware throughout the process,” explained Angela. “Myra even gave me her cell phone number to contact her if I had questions or concerns. I really am glad that I had all the guidance and support that I did.”

Angela’s robotic sleeve gastrectomy was completed by Dr. Eid on July 28, 2021. During this minimally invasive procedure the surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdomen and is assisted by a robotic platform to help perform the surgery. A camera enables the surgeon to see inside the body while using tools to cut part of the stomach vertically into two sections. The larger section is removed and the remaining stomach is stapled shut, which creates a sleeve shape.  

“Angela underwent a robotic-assisted sleeve gastrectomy, which involves removing a large portion of the stomach by utilizing the DaVinci Robotic stapling device,” explained Dr. Eid. “The remaining stomach is shaped like a long, skinny tube which limits the volume of food it holds. Also, by removing most of the stomach, the hunger hormones that are normally produced are greatly reduced. This leads to a significant decrease in appetite after surgery.”

At Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, robotic-assisted surgery utilizes advanced, robotic technologies to aid the surgeon during the operation. The robotic surgical system uses a 3D high-definition vision system, special instruments and computer software that allow the surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity, and control. With smaller incisions and more precise movements, patients reap many benefits such as less blood loss and a quicker recovery.  

“I only spent one day in the hospital after surgery. By the fourth day post-op, I was up walking around doing things around the house,” explained Angela. “I made sure to follow my doctor’s recommendations and not overdo it after the procedure. However, the recovery was not bad at all. This surgery really was the best thing I ever did for myself.” 


Big Losses, Bigger Gains

By January 1, 2022, Angela had dropped 118 pounds and eliminated her blood pressure medications. Losing the weight and changing her lifestyle has significantly improved Angela’s quality of life. She is enjoying vacations and activities with her kids and experiencing life in a whole new way.

“I have so much more energy, I feel like I’m 21 again,” said Angela. “We recently traveled to Florida for vacation as a family, and it felt so good to be able to put on shorts again after 13 years. This has been a big lifestyle change, but it is so worth it!”

Angela recommends that others who are seeking weight loss surgery research their options, follow all rules and guidelines, and find the right surgeon to fit their needs.

“Having a good surgeon and care team like Dr. Eid and his staff is very important to this journey,” said Angela. “It’s also important to understand that this is a huge lifestyle change and requires a lot of commitment. You really must follow all the guidelines and recommendations given and take your appointments and follow up care very seriously.”

“At Lake Cumberland, we provide our patients with the tools and information to be successful at weight loss. Angela put in the hard work and was very determined to achieve her goals,” said Myra Frye. “Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix or the easy way out, but with the right team for motivation and support, Angela was able to get her life back.” 

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